"The Philippine Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on June 12, 1898 in Cavite II el Viejo (present-day Kawit, Cavite), Philippines. With the public reading of the Act of the Declaration of independence (Spanish: Acta de la proclamación de independencia del pueblo Filipino), Filipino revolutionary forces under General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the colonial rule of Spain.” - Wikipedia
So here is the thing with our Independence Day. We are celebrating our independence from Spain. Spain, our original colonizer of 333 years. We fought against the Spaniards for our freedom, we were winning by backing the Spaniards up inside the walls of Intramuros, but then we were “bought” by the U.S. Yes our people and islands were literally sold off to the U.S. by Spain during the Treaty of Paris because the Spaniards would rather lose face to the white Americans than to the people they colonized. The battle in Intramuros between the Spaniards and Americans was a mock battle so the Spaniards could save their dignity of being overthrown by the people they colonized.
We never acknowledged the U.S. as our ruler. We fought against Spain and won, that is what we celebrate today on June 12. When the U.S. proclaimed our islands as theirs we fought against them just as we did against the Spaniards. This led to the Philippine-American War where thousands of lives were lost and the brutality of American imperialism showed its colors. They called us insurgents, but we were people fighting off a foreigner who up and came and proclaimed that our islands belonged to them and that we were now to obey by their laws.
When the U.S. finally gave us our “independence”, it wasn’t because they really wanted to, it was because of the fueled racism of white Americans who didn’t like the fact Pilipin@s who migrated to the states for work were taking away their jobs and having interracial marriages. They knew that once the U.S. let the Philippines go, that immigration would be limited and strict and that is what they wanted, for Pilipin@s to stop immigrating and with the Repatriation Act of 1935, it encouraged Pilipin@s to go back to the Philippines for free and to not come back.
We may not be an American colony anymore but we are still colonized by them today. Our leaders and people still depend on and fawn over the U.S. Because our history books were written and used by the American teachers brought to the Philippines during the American colonization, many people don’t know our history because it was erased and hidden by the Americans. Many idolize the U.S. like a hero, unknowingly acknowledging the fact that the U.S. has and still does exploit our people and resources, breaking laws in our country and damaging forests and reefs through their military exercises without facing any punishment for it because our leaders let it go and wave it off because they are our “most important ally”. Our colonial ties with the U.S. still haven’t ended today.
Besides our colonial mentality and ties under the U.S., how can a nation be free when our people aren’t? When we are put into prison or killed by the military and police force on orders by politicians for voicing our concerns for our people and islands and fighting against our leaders against their corruption and greed? When so many activists and journalists have been murdered, their cases never being looked into and forgotten. Where the government and politicians continue to steal money from the people, saying “the Philippines is becoming a growing economy”, yet at least 95% of the population don’t feel it, nor are they benefiting from it because all the money is going to the pockets of greedy politicians and family clans like the Aquinos.
How exactly are we free when our leaders support imperialism and the imperialists, becoming imperialist themselves in the seat of Manila where they make Tagalog as the basis of the national language, and thus oppressing other languages demoting them as mere dialects when that is hardly the case. Where our leaders don’t do shit in times of disasters like what happened in Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, putting labels on packages promoting a politicians career and vote with the benefit of himself than the people in need, who take reliefs as their own and never giving it to the people who need it. Where they dismiss the protection of our forests, indigenous rights, farmers rights, basic human rights, where president Aquino is even buddies with gang leaders in prison.
Today is June 12, our Independence Day. Today we celebrate our independence from Spain and the struggles our ancestors went through for our freedom. However, today and everyday we must know that we aren’t truly free and that we continue to fight for true freedom, against the colonial ties from the U.S. and against the corrupt government who abuse their power to benefit themselves at the exploitation of our people and country.
This is an interesting read, considering that I just recruited someone into Anakbayan New York today. I gave that person orientation, which talks about the National Democratic Movement of the Philippines and people against the 3 basic problems of US imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism. (Btw, that person took their oath and is willing to offer their life for the Philippines).
First of all, the person who posted the original post talked about Aguinaldo and the “revolutionary forces” under him. The complete separation from Spain was actually called for by the revolutionary Katipunan, which was founded by the working class leader Andres Bonifacio. Their revolution asserted the sovereignty of the Filipino people.
But in 1897, the “illustrados” or the educated and petty bourgeoisie decided to form a “revolutionary government” to replace that of the Katipunan and elected Emilio Aguinaldo as the president, replacing Bonifacio as the leader of the revolution.
After the leadership of the revolution was put into the hands of the liberal bourgeoisie, the revolutionary government suffered. It was no longer led by or represented the leadership of the majority of working class Filipinos. Eventually, this led to the fall of the Philippines into the hands of US imperialists. Not long after the June 12 declaration of independence (in the same month actually) did US troops begin to enter the Philippines.
Anyway, totally agree with whoever pinoy-culture's blogger is. Until this day, people fail to recognize the intense history of US imperialism in the Philippines and its continued presence in the Philippines today. The reason why people are poor and are forced to migrate abroad is because of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal society ruled by US imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism.
Example of US Impe today? Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. In the last week of April this year, Obama visited the Asia Pacific region to increase its military ties and extend its pivot in the region to plunder and profit from free trade agreements. He made a stop in the Philippines to visit Aquino to unite on allowing the US military to use the Philippine military facilities, including bases, for an indefinite period of time. It totally violates Philippine sovereignty.
What about Feudalism? Sounds like a medieval term - landlords and peasants. But you know what? It’s still alive and kicking in the Phils. The Philippines is still mostly an agricultural country that is worked on by peasants. Land is owned by the landlords, who take advantage and exploit the peasants by using them for cheap labor, paying them really shitty wages, making them pay land rent, and imposing usurious interest rates that are impossible for peasants to pay BECAUSE of their shitty wages. Peasants are then forced to do free labor (slavery), sell their land, or provide personal services (including sexual services) in order to compensate for their inability to pay landlords.
Last but not least, bureaucrat capitalism. In simple terms, BC is basically the government being run like a business - for profit. In the Philippines, it’s always profit over people, which is why people are getting hella militant. The most relevant example of it today is the pork barrel scandal, not only of Napoles, but President Aquino himself. And the issue of pork barrel escalated especially after Typhoon Haiyan because of the extremely little to no funds that the government provided to the people. It’s been over 6 months and only 50 houses have been built so far, when there are millions of people without adequate housing. On top of that, Aquino blamed the Filipino people for not being prepared. When you’re living in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial society where the majority are poor peasants and starving, where the lands is mostly agricultural, where foreign companies monopolize the lands and plunder our resources, and where there is no job creation or any money going back to the people, does Aquino really believe that the Filipino actually have the resources to be better prepared for a super storm like Typhoon Haiyan? HAHHH.
Sorry I’m ranting. I’m just really upset. But Anakbayan NY has a new member and we’re growing at a pretty rapid rate. It’s like at least one member per month since September. And when ABNY is growing, the national democratic movement is growing.
When we hear of independence and democracy in the Philippines, ask yourself, “Is it really?” Be critical of whatever you learn in school about the Philippines. Or what you hear on the news about the Philippines. Or even what you read about the Philippines on tumblr. Read up on all possible sides of history on the Philippines. But at the end of the day, what matters is what which side of history you stand on.
I choose to stand on the people’s side of history. I choose national democracy.
Important. Read this.